A portable system for processing donated whole blood into high quality components without centrifugation


Background The use of centrifugation-based approaches for processing donated blood into components is routine in the industrialized world, as disparate storage conditions require the rapid separation of ‘whole blood’ into distinct red blood cell (RBC), platelet, and plasma products. However, the logistical complications and potential cellular damage associated with centrifugation/apheresis manufacturing of blood products are well documented. The objective of this study was to evaluate a proof-of-concept system for whole blood processing, which does not employ electromechanical parts, is easily portable, and can be operated immediately after donation with minimal human labor. Methods and findings In a split-unit study (n = 6), full (~500mL) units of freshly-donated whole blood were divided, with one half processed by conventional centrifugation techniques and the other with the new blood separation system. Each of these processes took 2–3 hours to complete and were performed in parallel. Blood products generated by the two approaches were compared using an extensive panel of cellular and plasma quality metrics. Comparison of nearly all RBC parameters showed no significant differences between the two approaches, although the portable system generated RBC units with a slight but statistically significant improvement in 2,3-diphosphoglyceric acid concentration (p < 0.05). More notably, several markers of platelet damage were significantly and meaningfully higher in products generated with conventional centrifugation: the increase in platelet activation (assessed via P-selectin expression in platelets before and after blood processing) was nearly 4-fold higher for platelet units produced via centrifugation, and the release of pro-inflammatory mediators (soluble CD40-ligand, thromboxane B2) was significantly higher for centrifuged platelets as well (p < 0.01). Conclusion This study demonstrated that a simple, passive system for separating donated blood into components may be a viable alternative to centrifugation—particularly for applications in remote or resource-limited settings, or for patients requiring highly functional platelet product.



Platelets, Blood, Sedimentation, Centrifugation, Platelet activation, Microfluidics, Blood Plasma, Platelet aggregation


Copyright 2018 PLoS One. Recommended citation: Gifford, Sean C., Briony C. Strachan, Hui Xia, Eszter Vörös, Kian Torabian, Taylor A. Tomasino, Gary D. Griffin, Benjamin Lichtiger, Fleur M. Aung, and Sergey S. Shevkoplyas. "A portable system for processing donated whole blood into high quality components without centrifugation." PloS one 13, no. 1 (2018): e0190827. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0190827 URL: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0190827&type=printable Reproduced in accordance with the original publisher’s licensing terms and with permission from the author(s).